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11 October 2019

On Friday 4 October 2019, 321 individuals braved the elements and slept outside on the pavement of Duke of York Square to help provide others with shelter and support this winter. 

The total raised to date has reached over £191,000 - the highest amount raised within a week after the event, which has taken place the first Friday of October every year since 2013. Glass Door is hoping to surpass the £200,000 target before the end of the month. 

The event raises funds to run a network of local emergency winter shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Says Rev Brian Leathard, Glass Door's Chair of Trustees: 

The Sleep Out is a wonderful example of the community coming together to support those most in need.

Lucy Abraham, Glass Door's Chief Operating Officer, thanked participants at 5:30am Saturday in the morning. "I am delighted to announce that thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of all of you, this winter we will be able to run a fifth night shelter circuit – meaning we will be able to shelter 170 people every night of the winter," she said.

photo credit: Duke of York Square

Participants choose pavement for a pillow 

Octavia Warren, 17, took part for the first time with members of her family, all of whom volunteer at Glass Door shelter based at Holy Trinity Church, Brook Green. She said of the volunteering experience:

It's really so humbling. You realise how privileged you are.

Octavia Warren and family

Octavia Warren (far right) and family take part in Sleep Out 2019

"It's also good to discover the things you have in common [with the homeless guests].... It helps if you know about football," Octavia said with a laugh. Taking part in the Sleep Out was her way of giving back. 

Nadia Mishchanka

Nadia Mishchanka, who took part for the second year running, said: "It's really important that we help each other. " She added: 

I like supporting this charity. It's local and it feels like the money goes directly to people in need. I feel comfortable asking people to help because I believe in this charity. 

Nadia Mishchanka takes part in the photobooth sponsored by RAINDOG Films. 

Janet Helder who has taken part multiple years, said she's drawn to the event like a magnet. "I feel so grateful for what I have. It's the least I could do." 

Rosie Clover Brown, whose participation on the night marked her seventh attendance, discussed how much she appreciates having a a bed to return to. Said Rosie:

When I get into bed, I think, 'goodness, aren't I lucky.' 

Being #social

Many participants took to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to help raise awareness.

View this post on Instagram

Good night to you all from our Sleep Out in the Square supporting friends at @glassdoorlondon We’re raising funds and awareness to help those who live rough on our city’s streets work towards a life of hope and dignity. Please see the link in our bio and see how you can support @glassdoorlondon AND quadruple your donation as we pay it forward to @dotslondon @aktcharity and @showerboxldn ALL these wonderful non profit organisations work hard to support the varying needs of those without a home of their own. 💞🏠💞 #glassdoorsleepout #glassdoorsleepout2019 #GDSO #GDSO19 #sleepoutinthesquare #homelessness #endhomelessness #homeless @dukeofyorksquare #dukeofyorksquare #sleepingrough

A post shared by Doug The Pug Therapy Dog (@dougthepugtherapydog) on

It all adds up

Since 2013, the annual event has hosted over 1,300 individuals (many of whom have taken part multiple times) and raised over £1.2 million. 

The funds raised has allowed the charity to grow to meet the rise in demand for shelter and homeless support services. In 2013, the charity had space for 35 people a night. This winter, it plans to shelter up to 170 individuals every night for the coldest 22 weeks of the year. 

Individuals take part alongside groups of friends

Team effort

Special thanks are due the main sponsor, Cadogan Estates for allowing use of the space and providing porta-loos and security.  The Partridges Food Market team once again provided a well-loved hot breakfast (including vegan sausage baps) and donuts. Round Hill Capital sponsored our banners. Pret Foundation donated fruit and and snacks. Silks PR provided publicity support. RAINDOG FILMS sponsored the photobooth station. 

Ian Foster, Glass Door's fundraising officer, pointed out that it took many people behind the scenes to pull the event off. He said: 

We also send our heartfelt appreciation to the volunteers who have given up their valuable time to help run the event and the many companies who provided support and matched funding.

Eddie and Emma help out on the night.

Speaking to participants on Saturday morning before everyone dispersed, Lucy reiterated her thanks. "Massive thanks due all the participants who gave up the warmth and comfort of your own beds to take part," she said.  

Says Lucy: 

We wish it wasn’t needed, but we’re glad that with the support of so many, Glass Door can provide a safety net for those who need it most.

A selection of photos: 

(from left to right: Cllr Sarah Addenbrooke, Rev Brian Leathard,Mayor Cllr Will Pascall and Jeremy Smith)

It's not too late to sponsor an individual or the team.